( ENSPIRE Man Code 101 ) Marquise Burns Makes a Difference While Speaking to Students
ENSPIRE Contributor: Ava Girardi
Marquise Burns is the owner of Burns Brims, a line of high-quality, custom-made, and stylish fedoras, who spoke at North Dayton School of Discovery on May 20. Burns spoke with seventh and eighth-grade students about his time as a teenager and how he got to where he is today as a successful businessman.
Burns offered a Keynote presentation where he featured information on how to work hard in school, stay in school, and explore one’s creativity. He discussed the importance of education and learning how to decide based on if they will positively or negatively impact one’s future. During his presentations, he enjoys sharing stories of when he was a teenager and how putting on a fedora always boosted his self-confidence.
When Burns began showing an interest in his fedoras, he created his own line, known as Burns Brims. His company offers fedoras that come in any style or color to wear for any formal or informal occasion. His goal was to make men and women stand out when they wear this stylish accessory and feel good about themselves. Now, Burns Brims are seen on A-list celebrities such as Ceelo Green, JB Smoove, Joe, Ceelo Green, and Anthony Hamilton.
ENSPIRE spoke with Marquise Burns to learn more about his career and passion for speaking with the younger generation:
What sparked your interest in making hats and how did you learn to do so?
I have been wearing fedoras ever since I was a kid, fascinated with cowboys and tough guys who wore them. Loving how it set them apart and made them stand out. I told my wife when we first met that one day I’m going to open up a boots and brims store. Well, during the beginning of the pandemic, I was altering my personal hats to get more styles out of them. The hats were receiving so much attention that my wife told me she thinks it’s time for me to start my hat brand. Me creating and designing hats is self-taught. I had always altered and designed different clothing since I was a kid. Not having much growing up, I learned to take what I had and make the best of it. Me being an artist made it easier to do so. About two years before the pandemic, I bought a sewing machine and really started altering my own clothing. Between already being skilled in the many forms of art. Things that were self-taught when it came to altering clothing because of the lack of having. Wanting to stay fly and fashionable throughout my life. And having a love for fedoras before, it was cool for a kid like me to wear them. That is how I learned to do it.
What inspired you to go and speak with the younger generation? What did you hope they would take away from your presentation?
“Speaking to the younger generation has always been a passion of mine. Being a motivational, inspirational speaker was one of my first goals, even in high school. I have always been an outspoken extrovert when it comes to sharing what I have learned and communicating with people. There was a lack of communication in my home, so it became very important for me to learn to be a better communicator.
From the past and the future speaking events, what I hope the youth takes from me is that if I can do all that I have done and still doing. Then you can too. But for those kids who look like me, coming from similar situations. You’re not alone in your struggle, your upbringing. If I grew from concrete, you can too. Your amazement when seeing me is just a glimpse into your own mirror. I put my pants on one leg at a time like you. Take control of your life and learn from your pain!”
Could you discuss in more depth what points you discussed during your presentation to motivate young kids to pursue their dreams? Did you provide them with helpful advice that you have followed throughout your career?
“My last presentation, I focused on the concept of checking yourself. Checking back into you. Your inner self. I Used the saying “The Bag.” Right now, in popular music, the term “get to the bag” is the hot saying for the youth today. In hip hop, it means getting your money. Don’t allow anyone to stop you from getting your money. So I turned the word bag into an acronym. B= Basic, A=A, G=Game, Basic A Game! You check yourself by getting to the BAG. Basic A Game means; going back to your basic fundamentals to be on your A Game. And A Game is being at the top of your game. So in terms of the original meaning, getting your money. It still makes sense. If you’re on your (B.asic A. G.ame), no one can stop you from getting your BAG (money). Last, how do you stay on your BAG? By discovering self!
This whole thing I used as a chant. For me, it was a focus grabber and a way for them to interact. I would scream CHECK! They scream, THE B.A.G.! I’ll scream, what’s that! They scream, Basic A Game! My last screaming question is then. HOW! They scream, Discover self. Discover went along with the school’s name. North Dayton School of Discovery.
This chant was used throughout my speech. Talking about my life on up today. Sharing lessons and pain. Giving them examples of things I went through and things I have done that went along or lined up with the chant.”
What was it like creating your company, Burns Brims? What were some challenges and what worked to become successful?
“Creating Burns Brims was and still is euphoria! It wasn’t easy, but if it was easy, everyone would do it, and anything new you can’t be ready for because it’s new. So the ups and downs are expected. Building something requires discipline, sacrifice, patience, imagination, faith, and resilience. I learned to enjoy the process. Enjoying the process doesn’t mean everything’s going to go smoothly and easily so you can enjoy it. Enjoying the process means taking the crockets with the straights, the good and bad, the disappointments and shortcomings. Take it all and learn from them when disappointments become a lesson! It’s not a failure when you learn from it. It becomes an opportunity for growth. Learning is enjoyable, and that is the process. There were challenges in everything-designs, finding a team, content creation, and website design. Anything you can think of was a challenge because it’s new. Once you know what you have, that is golden, and you can create a plan with your imagination. Connect your faith that you will succeed. Have the discipline to sacrifice things in order to succeed. Be resilient in your march towards what you know to be true and have patience, that day is coming. You will be successful. There is no secret road, there is only you!”
How were you able to get your company to receive attention from celebrities such as CeeLo Green, JB Smoove, and others?
“I seized opportunities, as my friend and mentor, JB Smoove, told me. When opportunity comes knocking, your a** better be home. So when I see an opportunity to connect. An opportunity to reach out. An opportunity to be present. I do everything in my power to make it happen. Some people will say that’s risky. Going after someone or something without knowing whether you will succeed. Putting time and energy into something that isn’t guaranteed. Well, what they forget is. It’s also a risk if you don’t try if you don’t do it. I would rather fall forward trying than live a life full of woulda, coulda, shoulda!”
How does creating and wearing cool fedoras make you feel? How has it made you feel confident and express your inner self?
“Wearing a cool Fedora makes me feel confident. You have to be a confident person to pull off wearing one. You’re ok with standing outside the crowd and doing what you like when the fedora becomes a part of your everyday attire—creating these multiple-styled fedoras that can be worn in any season for any reason—giving fashion, flair, mystery, and confidence to all ethnicities, cultures, and backgrounds. Men, women, him, them, he, or she. Being able to create something like this for all of humanity can boost confidence, highlight personality, provide shade from UV rays, and give peace of mind. It gives me a feeling of fulfillment. I’ve been wearing them when it wasn’t considered cool for me to do so in my surroundings. Once upon a time, while still having gold teeth and dreads, I was rocking the fedora. By expressing my inner self, I stayed true to myself and always showed a level of confidence that was without words. It was felt, understood, and admired. I want everyone to share and express their inner self through Burns Brims and feel the energy that I have been feeling for a long time. To put out that same frequency.”
What speaking opportunities do you have planned for the future?
I plan to speak to the world. Speaking engagements of all sorts. Middle schools, programs, high schools, colleges. Sale out arenas and stadiums. Talk with professional teams and clubs. Be on talk shows and podcasts. Finish writing my book and it will be on the New York Times best-seller list. In the near future I’ll be heading home to my hometown Dayton Ohio during the fall and speaking to different schools and programs there. Connecting with the different mentors I had while growing up. Coaches, teachers, and principles to connect with their students. Taking on all those opportunities that my hometown will offer.
What speaking opportunities do you have planned for the future?
“I plan to speak to the world. Speaking engagements of all sorts. Middle schools, programs, high schools, colleges. Sale out arenas and stadiums. Talk with professional teams and clubs. Be on talk shows and podcasts. Finish writing my book, and it will be on the New York Times best-seller list. Soon, I’ll be heading home to my hometown Dayton Ohio during the fall and speaking to different schools and programs there, and connecting with the different mentors I had while growing up. Coaches, teachers, and principles to connect with their students. Taking on all those opportunities that my hometown will offer.”
Not only is Marquise Burns creating fedoras so individuals can express themselves but also building the confidence of students for the second time in his hometown of Dayton. His passion is held in making fedoras, but it is also important for him to encourage students to stay motivated and pursue any passions they have for the future. He also highlights in his presentation for students to pursue their dreams no matter how small it might be once they begin their journey.
Check out Marquise Burns’s site here. Also, watch Marquise’s speech at North Dayton School of Discovery.